Edtech is only half the battle

We also need to make sure that technology?s impact on learning is positive and measurable, says Lynsey Jenkins

Is there still a reluctance to embrace technology in schools from a teaching point of view, and what can we do to help promote the use of edtech in all schools?

I feel there is a massive appetite to embrace technology in schools. However, there is also immense pressure on IT departments and teachers to choose the best methods and tools to deliver and enrich the wider digital curriculum.

Therefore, the apprehension and reluctance often lies around choosing the best technology. What are the best methods, platforms and devices to accelerate learning? Furthermore, there is a growing concern over both student safety and data privacy within the parameters of education, which can galvanize technology resistance. Student safety should always be paramount when enabling online tools and access.

Knowledge sharing is critical between teachers, head teachers and school boards to enable the fastest route to best practice and the successful implementation of education technology across all age groups.

Are budget restrictions a major factor as to why we are seeing a digital divide between teachers and their students? What can we do to improve this?

Budget restrictions play a part in almost every purchasing decision in education. There will undoubtedly be instances where teachers do no have the resources to deliver all the elements on the digital curriculum – however this should not cause a divide between staff and students.

Technology is only half of the debate: for it to be fully successful, we also need to make sure that technology’s impact on learning is positive and measurable. In order to make sure that technology has the necessary positive impact on students, then the curriculum and testing needs to move forward and compliment how they are being taught. 

How often should schools look at training teaching staff to use the latest edtech, or is it more important that educators show initiative and take responsibility in keeping up with new developments?

Technology alone does not solve a problem and it is not a replacement for teachers. But equally, teachers need to be equipped with the skills to get the most out of new technologies within their classroom. So when embracing a digital initiative or deployment, education establishments must consider the wider picture. 

The question that should be evaluated is, what budget is required for all the necessary technology resources, from hardware to software and services or all of the above? Additionally, and fundamentally, teacher training must be considered. How much time and budget is required to ensure teachers are adequately equipped to make this initiative a success. 

Do you think tech suppliers should as standard supply teacher training on their technology products?

I think vendors and suppliers have an obligation to provide dedicated training and support mechanisms for their products – no matter the industry in which they are used.

In the education technology environment, training forums can create a great platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing – however this is not to say the onus is firmly on the manufacturer. The education establishment has a commitment to provide the adequate tools, training and knowledge to its teachers to enable them to deliver the best possible learning experience and outcomes for their students. 

How important is it that teachers embrace social media rather than shy away from it? Do the benefits of using Twitter and Facebook to engage with students outweigh the potential risks?

Social media is the playground of choice for students and one of the biggest challenges to IT security, particularly in schools. Being willing to adapt to and respond to the social media environment is both challenging and rewarding for teachers.

Yes teachers should use and engage with students on social media, but equally, teachers also have a duty of care to ensure that their institutions regularly revisit their IT strategy and are putting the best measures in place to safeguard their students and the learning environments.

Lynsey Jenkins is Marketing Directo at LapCabby



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